Clothes, hair, and other material obsessions

In Vancouver, the yoga “uniform” is dictated by homegrown Lululemon Athletica. It’s the go-to source for yoga apparel, regardless of age, ethnicity, gender, and yoga method. At The Yoga Space, an Iyengar studio where I study and teach, I recently found myself in a sea of Swiftly Tech tops and Wunder Unders (including mine). It’s not only a female thing. One day, I was adjusting the shoulders of a male student: a professor emeritus of literature, more the Canadian classic Tilley type–or so I thought. Then I noticed, glinting at me from the back of his pullover, the iconic Lululemon logo. My first Lululemon purchase was the Groove Pant, followed by two … Continue reading Clothes, hair, and other material obsessions

The yamas and niyamas of shopping

Before my January trip to California, I stopped at a toy store in Kitsilano. I wanted to buy a Schleich animal figurine or two for my little niece. Shopping for her is tricky. She has strong opinions. But, throughout her stages, from Disney princesses to American Girl to Playmobil and Lego, she’s always liked animals. Now, it’s wild animals. I found so much of what I was looking for at http://www.pawlife.com, that it back fired and I spent way too much time there! All is well, I made it out eventually. So I scrutinized the white tigers, elephants, gorillas, foxes… I must … Continue reading The yamas and niyamas of shopping

London: civilization as I know it

I love London! On my first day, I was in fantasy land. How can streets and sidewalks be this clean? Where’s the garbage, poop, and unidentifiable muck? Why are cars stopping for pedestrians? Tap water is drinkable and power outages rare? In India I spent my final week in Mumbai. This city is incomparably larger than Pune–and urban life is amplified and multiplied. The noise, the air, the population, the traffic, the rain and wind and humidity! Since I stay with a friend, however, I was generally shielded from the struggles of daily life. Take food. I’ve raved about the cooking of Abelin, my friend’s wonderful housekeeper. She’s … Continue reading London: civilization as I know it

10 tips for touring Pune

During the first three weeks of August, I rarely ventured beyond the neighborhood around RIMYI. In the past week, I’ve gone shopping and sightseeing with Nana, a favored rickshaw driver who became my informal tour guide, insider source, and translator. Going around Pune, I noticed a few things (including this orange billboard featuring Mr Iyengar). 1. Large chain stores come with a price Large-scale retailers, such as The Bombay Company, are spacious, clean, and luxuriously air conditioned. Bear in mind, however, that you might pay higher prices and you cannot return or exchange purchases. (At Fabindia I was surprised that I … Continue reading 10 tips for touring Pune

Was I suckered by the Seacret saleslady?

Last week, I was striding through City Square Shopping Centre near Vancouver City Hall after a dental appointment. The centre’s airy heritage architecture can’t quite compensate for the mundane mall experience, so I had no reason to stick around. In passing, I noticed the abandoned Hello Kitty kiosk. “What happened to them?” I asked a neighboring vendor. A Chinese immigrant in her 50s or 60s, she gabbed about their move to a larger mall with more shoppers willing to shell out for genuine Sanrio merchandise. “Are you Japanese or Korean?” she interjected. Before I knew it, she clasped my right hand … Continue reading Was I suckered by the Seacret saleslady?

Shopping, sales, and greed

Against my better judgment, I decided to “browse” at the after-Christmas sales last Saturday. Purchase #1: After a yoga class at the mega studio I’ve been featuring, I browsed through their book selection. While I’m an Iyengar devotee, I’m also curious about Yin yoga, and I was tempted by Sarah Powers’s Insight Yoga and Bernie Clark’s YinSights. When the staffer announced a 20% discount (that day only), I couldn’t resist and chose the latter. Purchase #2: While I’m dismayed at lululemon’s burgeoning empire and beyond-trendy vibe, I found my feet stepping into one of their boutiques and my hands rifling … Continue reading Shopping, sales, and greed